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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 December 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Geomorphic Processes, Weathering Erosion and Mass Movements

1. What do you understand by weathering and mass movements? How does weathering, mass wasting and erosion change the landscape together? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: World Geography by G C Leong

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, section Geography.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the concepts of weathering and mass movements and explain how weathering, mass wasting and erosion change the landscape together.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what you understand by weathering and mass movements. Introduce with exogenic forces and how weather and mass movements are types of them.

Body:

Weathering is the physical disintegration or chemical alteration of rocks at or near the Earth’s surface. Erosion is the physical removal and transportation of weathered material by water, wind, ice, or gravity. Mass wasting is the transfer or movement of rock or soil down slope primarily by gravity.

While plate tectonics forces work to build huge mountains and other landscapes, the forces of weathering and mass wasting gradually wear those rocks and landscapes away, called denudation. Together with erosion, tall mountains turn into hills and even plains. Present examples to justify.

Draw diagrams to ensure better substantiation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their significance in formation and structuring of landscapes.

Introduction:

Weathering is defined as mechanical disintegration and chemical decomposition of rocks through the actions of various elements of weather and climate. As very little or no motion of materials takes place in weathering, it is an in-situ or on-site process.

Mass wasting or Mass movement is the movement of weathered material down a slope due to gravitational forces. Mass movements are very active over weathered slopes rather than over unweathered slopes. Usual geographic agents like running water, glaciers, wind, waves etc do not have much role to play in mass movements, and it is the gravity, which is the main driving force.

Both are exogenic forces, i.e. they derive their strength from the earth’s exterior or originate within the earth’s atmosphere. Their actions result in wearing down, hence known as land wearing forces.

Body:

Weathering is of two kinds

  • Chemical Weathering: basic process by which denudation occurs. Extremely slow and gradual decomposition of rocks due to exposure to air and water. Solution, Oxidation and Decomposition by Organic Acids are few processes.
  • Physical or Mechanical weathering: physical disintegration of a rock by the actual prising apart of separate particles. Repeated temperature changes, repeated wetting and drying, Frost action and Biotic factors are processes.

Significance of weathering

  • Weathering is the first step in formation of soils.
  • Weathering of rocks and deposits helps in the enrichment and concentrations of certain valuable ores of iron, manganese, aluminium, copper etc.
  • Weathering helps in soil enrichment.
  • Without weathering, the concentration of the same valuable material may not be sufficient and economically viable to exploit, process and refine. This is what is called enrichment.

weathering

Mass wasting is of two types:

  • Slow movements:
    • Soil Creep: It occurs on moderate steep, soil-covered slopes (doesn’t need to be lubricated with water as in solifluction). The movement is extremely slow and imperceptible except through extended observation.
    • Solifluction: It is the process of slow down slope flowing of soil mass or fine-grained rock debris saturated or lubricated with water. It can be said as a type of creep with lubricated water influences the movement. It mainly occurs in permafrost regions as the layers of ground water are occupied in between permanently frozen soil and rocks.
  • Rapid movements:
    • Earthflow: Movement of water-saturated clayey or silty earth materials down low angle terraces or hillsides is called earthflow.
    • Mudflow: In the absence of vegetation and cover and with heavy rainfall, thick layers of weathered materials get saturated with water and either slow or rapidly flow down along definite channels is called as mudflow.
    • Debris avalanche: It is more in humid regions with or without vegetation. It occurs in narrow tracks on sleep slopes and is similar to snow avalanche.
    • Landslides (slumping or sliding): These are very rapid kinds of movement and occur when a large mass of soil or rock falls suddenly. Land-slides usually occur on steep slopes undercut by a river or the sea so that it falls by gravity. Slumping is particularly common where permeable debris or rock layers overlie impermeable strata such as clay. Water sinking through the permeable material is halted by the clay. The damp clay provides a smooth slippery surface over which the upper layers easily slide.

Significance of Mass-wasting:

  • The topography of the earth’s surface, particularly the morphologies of mountain and valley systems, both on the continents and on the ocean floors.
  • The character/quality of rivers and streams and groundwater flow.
  • The forests that cover much of the earth’s sub-aerial surface.
  • The habitats of natural wildlife that exist on the earth’s surface, including its rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Large amounts of geologic materials enter streams as sediment as a result of this landslide and erosion activity, thus reducing the potability of the water and quality of habitat for fish and wildlife.

Mitigation of Mass-Wasting:

  • Afforestation
  • Re-Afforestation
  • Terracing steps on slopes or, more generally, re-modelling its shape
  • Slope stabilization

Conclusion:

The interaction of these constructive and destructive forces gives rise to great diversity of present day landforms.

 

Topic: Landforms (Riverine, Coastal, Karst, Glacial, Volcanic and Aeolian)

2. Discuss in detail the Aeolian landforms with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: World Geography by G C Leong

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, section Geography.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the Aeolian landforms with suitable examples.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Aeolian landforms refer to the Landforms that are formed by the winds. There are two types of the Aeolian Landforms viz. Erosional and Depositional.

Body:

Such questions are best explained with various landforms that are a result of such elements.

Explain both erosional and depositional landforms caused by the wind action.

Take examples – Zeugen or Rock Mushrooms, Yardangs,Blow Outs, Inselbergs, Desert pavement, Erg  or Sand Sea, Ripples, Barchan, Longitudinal dunes, Transverse Dunes, Star Dunes etc.

Use suitable diagrams and explain the effect of wind on them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such factors in shaping landforms.

Introduction:

The landforms which are created by erosional and depositional activities of wind are called as Aeolian Landforms.  The wind or Aeolian erosion takes place in the following ways, viz. deflation, abrasion, and attrition. This process is not unique to the Earth, and it has been observed and studied on other planets, including Mars.

The wind is the main geomorphic agent in the hot deserts. Winds in hot deserts have greater speed which causes erosional and depositional activities in the desert.

Body:

Erosional Landforms due to Wind:

Erosional_Landforms

  • Pediplains:
    • When the high relief structures in deserts are reduced to low featureless plains by the activities of wind, they are called as Pediplains.
    • Selected Australian regions are considered as possible as examples of pediplains.
  • Deflation Basins:
    • Deflation is the removal of loose particles from the ground by the action of wind.
    • When deflation causes a shallow depression by persistent movements of wind, they are called as deflation hollows.
    • Found on the Southern High Plains of northwestern Texas and eastern New Mexico
    • A good example of these hollows is Qattara Depression in the south west of Alexandria, Egypt. This hollow is about 120 m below the sea level.
  • Inselbergs:
    • A monadnock or inselberg is an isolated hill, knob, ridge, outcrop, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain.
    • Inselbergs are relict features.
    • The occurrence of inselbergs implies immense variations in the rates of degradational activity on the land surface.
    • These structures are one of several varieties of landform called paleoforms that can survive with little modification for tens of millions of years.
    • In inselberg landscapes, the active erosional processes are confined to valley sides and valley floors.
    • Spectacular examples include Uluru/Ayers Rock and the Olga Rocks (Kata Tjuta) in central Australia. Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.
  • Mushroom Rocks:
    • Ventifacts are rocks that have been abraded, pitted, etched, grooved, or polished by wind-driven sand or ice crystals.
    • These geomorphic features are most typically found in arid environments where there is little vegetation to interfere with Aeolian particle transport, where there are frequently strong winds, and where there is a steady but not overwhelming supply of sand.
    • Mushroom Tables / Mushroom rocks are Ventifacts in the shape of a mushroom.
    • In deserts, a greater amount of sand and rock particles are transported close to the ground by the winds which cause more bottom erosion in overlying rocks than the top.
    • This result in the formation of rock pillars shaped like a mushroom with narrow pillars with broad top surfaces.
    • Found in Sierra de Organos National Park, Mexico; Ciudad Encantada, Spain; Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, United States
  • Demoiselles:
    • These are rock pillars which stand as resistant rocks above soft rocks as a result of differential erosion of hard and soft rocks.
  • Zeugen:
    • A table-shaped area of rock found in arid and semi-arid areas formed when more resistant rock is reduced at a slower rate than softer rocks around it.
    • A furrow and ridge landscape is formed when the wind abrase the soft and less resistant part of the rock and the hard resistant part is left.
    • The ridges thus formed are called zeugens and can be of varying sizes, some even 30 m high.
    • These ridges wear away eventually through constant undercutting by winds
  • Yardangs:
    • Ridge of rock, formed by the action of the wind, usually parallel to the prevailing wind direction.
    • Found in Salah in central Algeria and the regions near the Kom Ombo (Egypt).
  • Wind bridges and windows:
    • Powerful wind continuously abrades stone lattices, creating holes.
    • Sometimes the holes are gradually widened to reach the other end of the rocks to create the effect of a window—thus forming a wind window.
    • Window bridges, are formed when the holes are further widened to form an arch-like feature.

Depositional Landforms due to Wind:

  • Sand dunes
    • Dry hot deserts are good places for sand dune formation.
    • According to the shape of a sand dune, there are varieties of sand dune forms like Barchans, Seifs etc.
    • The crescent-shaped dunes are called as Barchans and they are the most common one.
    • Seif is similar to Barchans but has only one wing or point.
    • Barchans are most prevalent in the deserts of Turkestan and in the Sahara.
    • Extensive seif dunes can be found in Sahara desert, West Australian desert, Thar desert etc.

Sand_dunes

  • Loess
    • In several large areas of the world, the surface is covered by deposits of wind-transported silt that has settled out from dust storms over many thousands of years.
    • These depositions are called as Loess.
    • The most extensive deposits are found in north-west China in the loess plateau of the Hwang-Ho basin.

Conclusion:

Thus, wind and water act as major erosional factors leading to formation of various landforms.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. What are the issues with current labour laws in the country? Examine the need for carrying out labour reforms to progress on the performance of India’s manufacturing sector. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Government of India had decided to consolidate twenty-nine (29) central labour laws into four (4) labour codes. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the issues with current labour laws in the country and present the need for carrying out labour reforms to progress on the performance of India’s manufacturing sector.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the background of the question.

Body:

The question is pretty much straightforward; highlight the issues with current labour laws in the country.

Present specific issues related to their execution, coverage aspects, failure in addressing regional imbalances etc.

Suggest what reforms are required to be made to overcome the challenges and concerns being posed by the existing labor laws.

Discuss the need for carrying out labour reforms to progress on the performance of India’s manufacturing sector

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions in the direction of reforms required in labour laws.

Introduction:

Labour Law means laws that regulate conditions and well-being of labour. Labour Law in a way define the rights and obligations as workers, union members and employers in the workplace. Labour law covers employment laws, administrative rules and precedents, Industrial relations, workplace health and safety, employment standards, working hours, unfair dismissals, minimum wage etc. which address the legal rights of and restrictions on working people and their organizations. India’s complicated labour law regime is in dire need of reform due to various issues.

Body:

Importance of Labour Laws:

  • Labor Law is adapted to the economic and social challenges of India. It establishes a legal system that facilitates productive individual and collective employment relationships and therefore a productive economy.
  • It led to labour welfare by providing a framework within which employers, workers and their representatives can interact with regard to work related issues.
  • It provides a clear and constant reminder and guarantee of fundamental principles and rights at work.

Issues with current labour laws in the country:

  • Complex law system:
    • Under the Constitution of India, Labour is a subject in the concurrent list where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislations.
    • As a result, a large number of labour laws have been enacted catering to different aspects of labour e.g., occupational health, safety, employment etc.
    • As a result, it created a lot of redundancy and loopholes in the legal system which paves the way to exploitation of labour.
    • Implementation of this complex system of laws has also become a challenge to limited number of Labour Enforcement Officers in India.
  • Labour exploitation:
    • Because of the predominantly heavy handed labour regulations (also called as Inspector Raj) with exploitable gaps, the MNCs and domestic organizations have resorted to alternate ways i.e., employing contract labour at less than half the payroll of a permanent employee.
    • India has 94% of its workforce in its unorganized sector.
    • This huge workforce getting trapped in unorganized sector is largely attributed to our stringent labour laws. Thus, labour reforms are needed.
  • Impact of delay of labour reforms:
    • The Labour Reforms if not implemented soon, it would take a gross hit on India as an investment destination.
    • Also, it would incur huge loss to the economy due to undervalued GDP production.
    • This reflects the dire need for reforms. The data shows that 94% of Labour force in India is in the unorganized sector and that shows how grossly Indian GDP is undervalued.
    • This is so because the income of these people in the workforce is very much less than the permanent workforce for the same output.
    • The improper regulations coupled with complexity have led to misuse of vast Labour of India.
  • Issue of contract labour:
    • One of the main reasons for labour reforms is the concept of contract labour.
    • Trade Unions suggest that this concept itself should be removed. There is stringent hiring and firing process defined in Industry Disputes Act.
    • It makes it mandatory for the organization to seek Government permission before removing an employee.
  • Issue of apprenticeship:
    • Another major weakness in current labour reforms is less focus on apprenticeship.
    • Our education system is not responsive to the needs of the market therefore apprenticeship becomes important.

Need for carrying out labour reforms to progress on the performance of India’s manufacturing sector:

  • Universal social security:
  • The codes mandate benefits of Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) and Provident Fund (PF) only for workers belonging to establishments employing 10 workers or more.
  • This leaves out nearly 80% of all Indian workers – the informal sector – from the ambit of these benefits.
  • These workers have to be satisfied with a promise of some special schemes for them in their as yet undefined future.
  • They may also be allowed access to underutilized Employees’ State Insurance Corporation hospitals — and even that only on payment of a usage charge.
  • The most ubiquitous workers we encounter in our daily life – our domestic help, or the street vendor, or even the paper boy who delivers the morning newspaper home – are all left out of reckoning of this universal coverage.
  • In 2016, the ESI covered 2.1 crore workers; this increased to 3.6 crore by March 2019. The ESI employed around six doctors per one lakh beneficiaries in 2016, as against the World Health Organization norm of 100 doctors; the proportion of doctors to beneficiaries would have further fallen with the expanded membership.
  • The ESI would have needed to urgently increase doctor and paramedical strength, for which it would need more resources.
  • However, in the interest of ‘ease of doing business’, the employer plus employee contribution to the ESI was reduced from 6.5% to 4% from July 2019.
  • The decision to reduce the contribution rate at a time when the need for the ESI was to increase expenditure on medical care surely appears counter-intuitive.
  • With the new codes seeking to cover 20% of all workers, the membership would further increase to around 10 crore workers: a three-time increase over the membership in 2019.
  • The available capacity of the hospitals and dispensaries would evidently be inadequate. The hope of ‘underutilized hospitals’ being made available to the informal sector is mere populist kite-flying.
  • There is another side to this picture. The ESI coverage follows the map of industrial growth in the country. Thus, in industrialized States like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the ESI covered around 20% of the population as beneficiaries in 2016; the corresponding figure was just 0.7% for Bihar.
  • Surely the possibility of scaling up coverage is a remote possibility in Bihar, given the very low base at present.
  • While introducing the new codes, the government also did away with a number of existing cess-based welfare schemes.
  • These included the Beedi Workers Welfare Board, covering an estimated five lakh home-based women workers.
  • Even to this day, older beedi workers in the erstwhile South Kanara district of the Madras Presidency credit the education schemes available to them to the Board, which they say, enabled their children to escape the pernicious bind of poverty.
  • The workers also had access to free dispensation in the hospitals run by the Board.
  • With the new codes, the beedi workers will forego these facilities in exchange for an undefined promise of universal social security.
  • Promise of minimum wage
  • According to the Union Labour Minister, at present only around 30% of all workers get covered under the various minimum wage schedules.
  • The government’s remedy in the codes is to include a floor wage covering all workers.
  • At various instances, the Labour Minister announced a floor wage of ₹178 per day in 2019; and more recently the Finance Minister announced ₹202.
  • This is only a little more than half the ₹375 per day recommended by the Labour Ministry’s Expert Committee on Wage in 2019; and also lower than the poverty line family expenditure estimated by the government-appointed Rangarajan Committee in 2011, corrected for inflation.
  • This ‘floor wage’ should more aptly be called the below poverty line, or BPL wage. It can only serve to pull down wages, far from shoring up the wage level.

Way forward:

  • Labour laws applicable to the formal sector should be modified to introduce an optimum combination of flexibility and security.
  • Make the compliance of working conditions regulations more effective and transparent.
  • Strengthening of enforcement machinery is needed. Increased manpower, improved infrastructure is essential for effective implementation of labour laws.
  • All India Service for labour administration must be formed that will provide professional experts in the field of labour administration.
  • Contract labourers should be covered under workmen’s compensation act for accidents, with inflation linked wages and limited social security benefits from employee state insurance act and maternity benefit act extended to them

Conclusion:

These codes, which also include various measures restricting the unions’ right to strike and relax norms for factory closure, serve to improve the ‘ease of doing business’ ranking instead of improving the conditions of employment. Labour reforms are the need of the hour not only as a thrust on Make in India and ease of doing business, but also to ensure the demographic dividend does not turn into a nightmare of unemployment and under-employment.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

4. Deliberate upon the possible role that Intelligence agencies in India can and must play in tracking the ecological threats and epidemics. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the possible positive role that the intelligence agencies can play in tracking the ecological threats and epidemics.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the role that intelligence agencies can play in tracking the ecological threats and epidemics.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the fact that Covid-19 has driven home the urgency to acquire information that has a vital bearing on our health, economy and security.

Body:

The answer must speak about the importance of Intelligence agency’s role in tracking the biological security threats that can take forms of ecological threats and epidemics.

Present the case of reforms that need to be brought about with respect to functions of intelligence agencies in the country.

Explain why is it important for them to play a key role in tracking such threats.

One can present a case study of Covid-19 or take cues from the article and present the case of China.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance and role of the intelligence agencies in dealing with such epidemics and ecological threats.

Introduction:

An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives. Covid-19 has driven home the urgency to acquire information that has a vital bearing on our health, economy and security

Body:

Role of Intelligence agencies:

  • Give early warning of impending crises
  • Serve national and international crisis management by helping to discern the intentions of current or potential opponents
  • Inform national defense planning and military operations (military intelligence)
  • Protect sensitive information secrets, both of their own sources and activities, and those of other state agencies
  • Covertly influence the outcome of events in favor of national interests, or influence international security
  • Defense against the efforts of other national intelligence agencies (counter-intelligence).

Role of Intelligence agencies: tracking the ecological threats and epidemics.

  • After news of an unusual ‘pneumonia’ outbreak was confirmed on 31 December 2019, the Taiwanese government immediately initiated control measures that ensured that the island nation remained relatively unscathed by the covid-19 pandemic.
  • The country of 24 million has suffered a mere 686 cases to date.
  • Public accounts describe Taiwanese authorities as having found out about the Wuhan outbreak on New Year’s Eve from social media platforms that amplified a whistle blown by a mainland Chinese health worker.
  • Taiwan started quarantining passengers starting 1 January 2020 and began investigations that a couple of weeks later uncovered that there was indeed human-to-human transmission of the virus, countering the Chinese government’s claims to the contrary.
  • Given the speed and volume of air travel, every day matters in the defense against epidemics.
  • Of course, merely having early information is insufficient – what the government does with it is also crucial.
  • Like Taiwan, the US public health and intelligence community detected an outbreak of something new and potentially dangerous in Wuhan in the last few weeks of 2019.
  • Yet, despite being included in the president’s daily briefing in early January, it was not until the end of the month, and after 300,000 airline passengers had arrived in the US, that Washington imposed travel restrictions.
  • Despite the highly contrasting outcomes, what was common is that both Taiwan and US had good intelligence on public health developments in China.
  • India’s public health or external intelligence officials did not knew much about what was cooking in Wuhan in late December.
  • As for our public health officials, they rely on information from the World Health Organization (WHO), which in turn relies on what it receives from the Chinese government.
  • Meanwhile, our intelligence agencies would have trained their resources on political, military and national security targets.
  • Wet-markets and pneumonia would at best have been at the periphery of their attention.
  • In the event, unlike the Taiwanese, the Indian government did not have advance signals of the massive threat that was brewing in our neighboring country.
  • While it is sensible to strengthen the WHO to make it more efficient, responsible and reliable in managing global public health, that approach alone is not enough.
  • We should recognize that countries will hide, suppress, manipulate or play up biological and environmental developments to serve their political interests.
  • Multilateral organizations like the WHO will be constrained by the very same political interests, and thus cannot be entirely relied upon.
  • Covid-19 has brought home the fact that India must have independent means of acquiring information that has a vital bearing on our health, economy and security.
  • The Research & Analysis Wing must be given the responsibility of tracking health and environmental threats, and equipped with the expertise needed to collect and analyze such intelligence.
  • The R&AW and other agencies should also be prepared to carry out clandestine operations in the context of climate, epidemic and related threats.
  • Julian Barnes and Michael Venutolo-Mantovani noted in the New York Times that “every major spy service around the globe is trying to find out what everyone else is up to” in disease management, vaccine development and political impact.
  • According to another report by Ronen Bergman, in Israel, Mossad “played an outsize role in acquiring the medical gear, and knowledge, needed in the pandemic… in some instances, the agency had acquired items that other countries had already ordered.”

Conclusion:

People’s Republic of China is both the epicenter of viral pandemics and also under a regime that has both the intent and capability to control information. That makes the need for accurate advance information all the more important. If Kargil was a wake-up call for India to modernize its defense and intelligence set-up, covid-19 is another big one.

 

Topic : Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

5. What do you understand by Monoculture farming? Analyse its impact on the agroecology of the country, how can one stop it from depleting the natural resources? (250 words)

Reference Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article from the editorial explains to us the ongoing farm debate in the country and in what way the green reality check seems to be missing.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the concept of Monoculture farming and discuss in what way it has impacted the agroecology of the country and suggest solutions to overcome the problems posed by such a technique of farming.  

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what you understand by monoculture farming.

Body:

Monoculture is the agricultural practice of growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time. Modern agricultural practices emphasize maximizing crop yields, farm incomes and global competitiveness. The single-minded pursuit of such goals has remade land and farms into monocultures.

Explain the key characteristics of such a farming technique; list down the demerits and host of problems that it has exposed Indian farming system to.

Discuss solutions to address the problems posed by it.  Highlight the role of the government, farmers and other stakeholders.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Monoculture farming is a form of agriculture that is based on growing only one type of a crop at one time on a specific field. In contrast, a polyculture system assumes that a field is sown with two or more crops at a time. It should be noted that the concept of monoculture does not only apply to crops, but to farm animals as well: it consists in breeding only one species of animals on a given farm, be it dairy cows, sheep, pigs, chicken, etc.

This method of farming is particularly popular in industrialized regions. This strategy benefits farmers as it allows reduced costs, but when a single variety of species is grown it can also endanger the farm to widespread crop failure.

Body:

Monoculture cropping growth trends in India:

  • While modern science and technology have made monoculture farms possible, it is the economics of modern supply chains that has accelerated their growth.
  • For example, crop varieties of wheat and later rice, highly responsive to chemical fertilisers and water, along with the advent of mechanisation and agrochemicals, made wheat and paddy monoculture farms possible in the 1960s.
  • But the Green Revolution did not take off until the Indian government provided input subsidies and set up the MSP-based procurement regime for these two crops.
  • Similarly, it is the economics of soybean meal as cattle-feed that has driven the growth of soybean monoculture farms around the world while the demand for sweeteners and biofuels made from corn and sugarcane have promoted their fast growth.

New farm laws and farmers demand promote monoculture farming:

  • Both government and farmers have continued to ignore the broader ecological and social contexts in which agriculture is embedded.
  • Corporatization of agriculture through contract farming, higher stocking limits and private marketplaces will accelerate the growth of long supply chains of monoculture commodities.
  • Guaranteed procurement in the past has incentivized monoculture farming.

Impact on the agroecology of the country:

  • Pests Management:
    • Farmers who stick to monoculture farming face more difficulties in terms of struggling with pest infestations on their field.
    • Pests are most prolific on farmlands having only one single kind of crop grown on them year after year.
  • Higher Pesticides Use:
    • Monoculture crops are more likely to be affected by blight or pests, as these threats can move faster through the area due to its reduced biodiversity.
    • In response, farmers apply greater amounts of pesticides and herbicides to protect the crop.
    • These chemicals seep into the ground, contaminating both the soil and the groundwater.
    • Moreover, monoculture farms tend to intensify even more the use of pesticides, as some kinds of pests survive the use of chemicals by developing resistance to them.
  • Soil Degradation and Fertility Loss:
    • Agricultural monoculture upsets the natural balance of soils.
    • Too many of the same plant species in one field area rob the soil of its nutrients, resulting in decreasing varieties of bacteria and microorganisms that are needed to maintain fertility of the soil.
    • The production of a single plant species over a large area also has a negative effect on the structure of the underlying soil.
    • One species of crop means that only one type of root will be available to trap moisture and prevent soil erosion, work that typically requires multiple types of roots.
  • Higher use of fertilizers:
    • Intensive use of fertilizers on monoculture fields is tightly connected with the previous point.
    • As growing only one kind of plant on the same piece of farmland depletes and exhausts the soil by depriving it of the biodiversity, farmers tend to artificially boost the fertility of their impacted fields by applying chemical fertilizers.
    • The use of such artificial nutrients has a negative impact on the natural composition of the soil, and therefore has a devastating effect on the ecosystem in general.
  • Higher Water Use:
    • If there is only one type of crop on a given land plot, the root systems of this species are not sufficient to maintain the soil structure around the plants, which can lead to erosion and loss of water uptake.
    • For this reason, the soil around monoculture crops is often devoid of the significant layer of topsoil, which causes imbalance in water retention on such farmlands.
  • Decrease in Biodiversity:
    • The key aspect of nature is its biological diversity and agriculture sector is no exception to this.
    • The more varied biological species are present in a given area, the stronger and richer the ecosystem of this area is.
    • One of the main problems with monoculture farming is the elimination of biological diversity.
  • Impact on Pollinators:
    • Monoculture farming has also a negative effect on such important participants of the natural reproductive cycle as bees and other pollinators.
    • The increasing use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical substances in monoculture farming, which are called to maintain the crop growth and the fertility of “impoverished” soils, damages the health of pollinating insects and often kills them.
    • Also, such a lack of biodiversity in the natural habitat of bees and other pollinators, results in the deficit of some bacteria that are beneficial for their health, namely Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus.
  • Rise of Zoonotic diseases:
    • The link between factory farming of animals and the growth of zoonotic diseases is now well-known, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Measures needed:

  • Polyculture:
    • It provides for some types of plants on the field that repel pests. Such plants thus serve as a natural barrier to development of pest infestations on farmlands.
  • Implementation of Crop Rotation:
    • Alternating different types of crops on a given field may substantially help to avoid some major negative impacts of monoculture on soils.
    • Yearly crop rotation, for example, interrupts pest cycles and contributes to maintaining the soil in a more balanced state in terms of its composition.
  • Smart usage of fertilizers:
    • With current technologies, such change has now become possible, and fertilizers can be used in a much smarter way, as there is no more need to apply the same amount of fertilizer to each acre.
    • Crop Monitoring has a zoning feature that allows effective application of fertilizers only in the areas where they are really needed.
  • Efficient Water Use
    • The efficient use of such an important natural resource as water is one of the crucial issues in the agriculture sector, especially in monoculture farming.
    • The solution here would be to grow crops near the water bodies to decrease the use of groundwater and to diminish the runoff of water absorbed by the soil (i.e. to ensure that it remains longer in the soil).
    • Technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation which increase water use efficiency.

Way forward:

  • The recognition that agriculture is embedded in nature and that the agrarian economy is constrained by the limits imposed by nature and by social rules is fundamental to making policies that can benefit farmers.
  • Instead of a resource-based approach, the need is to develop a relationship-based approach towards the environment.

Conclusion:

To tackle all these challenges, we require alternative policies that address these foundational deficits and go beyond the dominant paradigm of high-external-input, high-cost agriculture.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion. Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. “The greatest intoxication is that of the ego. The worst madness is that of anger. The person who is free from arrogance and anger finds goodness and beauty wherever she goes! When we think we know everything, we lose the battle of life”. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Quote based question

Why the question:

The question talks about the evils of qualities like ego, anger and arrogance and their ill effect on one’s life.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate upon the statement in question, discuss each quality and bring out the ill effect it can bring in one’s life and suggest what needs to be done to overcome effects of such qualities in one’s life.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In the beginning of the answer, briefly define ego and explain its characteristics.

Body:

Ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Someone’s ego is their sense of their own worth. If someone has a large ego, they think they are very important and valuable. In recent times, people feel superiority of caste, religions, nationality, culture, and gender and material wealth.

Discuss the factors that foster one’s ego, explain the consequences of ego.

Then move onto explain with examples, significance of not having ego or control on ego, one can here talk about various leaders, philosophers and their observations and practices related to conquering the evils of ego.

Explain why one should strive for knowledge and not stop in his/her life.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions such as – Ego can be overcome by practicing self-restraint, Yoga and Meditation, appropriate socialization, parenting.

Introduction:

Ego, in psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” and is in contact with the external world through perception.

Body:

  • Ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Someone’s ego is their sense of their own worth.
  • If someone has a large ego, they think they are very important and valuable.
  • In recent times, people feel superiority of caste, religions, nationality, culture, and gender and material wealth.
  • But when it starts affecting other people it creates problems. Ego, a seemingly simple feeling creates many problems in the world.
  • Consider a family. All members live in harmony, following and obeying a senior member to maintain discipline. Then a member develops ego problems. He starts rebelling and tries to dictate his own terms.
  • This creates chaos and infighting in the family, loss of discipline and peace. Ego problems between husband and wife are the main cause for marital disharmony and number of divorcees.
  • In office, if the boss is an egoist, he remains aloof from his employees. He does not communicate with them much, considers their problems as excuses for not doing work and their demands as exaggerated.
  • The consequences which follow can be one or more than one of the following – the skilled employees switch over to another job at the first opportunity.
  • Replacing a person is not difficult. But an experienced hand is an asset for any organization while new ones will be a liability as they take time to get acquainted with the system of working.
  • Those unable to change start getting frustrated and loose interest in work.
  • Gradually they fail to put in their best at work, thus affecting the quality.
  • On the part of the boss, he remains lonely in spite of his position and power.
  • He lacks true friends and well-wishers if his ego is inflated, because he would be surrounded by sycophants or people fearing him.
  • His subordinates do not respect him and feel happy when he changes.
  • In case of a subordinate employee having a big ego, situation becomes more difficult.
  • This person always thinks that he is excellent and not get his due, wherever he works.
  • He does not cooperate and coordinate with his colleagues, tries to argue with the superiors and wants to do things his way even if incorrect.
  • Both these types of scenario are not pleasant and spoil the peace of the office.
  • Office is a place where one spends 8 to 10 hours of the day, 5 to 6 days of the week.
  • A vitiated atmosphere becomes stressful for both employees and the bosses.
  • Thus, all are exposed to risk of developing hypertension, cardiac problems and other stress related health problems.
  • At a higher level, it is well known that for centuries wars   have been fought to satisfy the ego of some person ruling the country or masses.
  • People of any nationality or community live in peace and harmony, with one another.
  • They are instigated to fight and kill one another because of the ego of some leader.
  • In no situation is an egoist person loved or appreciated. People may be taken in temporarily by his boasting or airs but very soon his true self is exposed.

Why do people have an inflated ego?

  • In some people it is due to lack of self-confidence, which they try to hide by bossing over others.
  • Over confidence may be the cause for exaggerated egos in some persons.
  • Just because of some skill they have, they regard others to be morons whom they have come to salvage.
  • Some weak-minded people get carried away by false praises bestowed on them by others for some personal gains and blow up their ego.
  • Exaggeration about self is also a psychiatric disorder in which the person is removed from reality and has delusions of grandeur about themselves.
  • Thus, for benefit of self and others, keeping away ego is a good policy. Great men of the world who are still revered like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, all are well known for their humility.
  • All human beings are interdependent on one another for their very existence, whether one accepts it or not.
  • Doctors, farmers, cleaner, cooks, engineers, teachers, all are needed in a society.
  • A very rich man would need grains grown by a farmer, milk brought in by milk man, helpers to help around in the house and at work.
  • So it is better that instead of showing his superiority he acknowledges the help extended to him and is respectful.

Effects of ego:

It can be held responsible for many negative human traits including but not limited to criticizing and judging others, acting manipulative, being inflexible and rigid, having severe mood swings, possessing a constant need for praise and approval, need to feel superior to everyone around, feeling fearful, anxious, being uncooperative, taking things too seriously, taking offense easily, constantly worrying over little things, feeling resentful towards others, inability to live in the present moments, feelings of hopelessness and despair and the need for power and control over others.

How to control ego:

  • Do something nice for a subordinate
  • Tell someone something you’ve been keeping in for long
  • Let someone else talk for a change
  • And really listen to them
  • Step down if you have to
  • Compliment someone
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
  • Stop complaining
  • Embrace the art of letting go

Conclusion:

Ego is not a substance. It is a non-substance like darkness. When knowledge gets fully matured, the ego drops and simplicity dawns. Look at your life in contrast with the magnitude of creation, space and time. Your life becomes insignificant. Ego disappears.

 

Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. Describe the following terms in your own words: (250 words)

 i. Commitment,

ii. Confession,

iii. Rationality

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to discuss the terms – i. Commitment, ii. Confession,  iii. Rationality in the context of Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail each term, its importance and relevance with suitable examples wherever possible.

Directive:

Describe – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define each of the three terms mentioned in the question.

Body:

Confession is when one accepts the mistake/wrong that has been done. It is the starting point of penance. It is the act that follows after the realization that one has done something immoral. It helps to purify mind and strengthens one’s conscience.

Commitment is the consistency and strength of a decision concerning something/someone. It depicts clarity and certainty in behaviour with respect to a thing someone is committed to. It strengthens one’s confidence with respect to that thing. Ex; commitment of our freedom fighters towards independence.

Rationality is a faculty of thinking wherein the prejudices, emotions and other outside influences have no place. It is a scientific approach to things. It helps us see things as it is and not adulterated by subjective opinions. It is the tool to bring objectivity in decision making. This instrument helps us discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad by their merits.

Give suitable examples for each of the virtue and justify their importance and relevance.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting their importance.

Confession:

  • A confession is any written or oral statement in which a person admits to having committed some transgression, often indicating acknowledgement of guilt for a crime
  • A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a wrong doing or a crime. It involved admission of guilt, feeling sorry towards it and a person desires absolution from the act and make sure that act is not repeated.
  • Confession can lead to reconciliation which leads to a community that walks and serves together.
  • It can improve inter personal relationships and build trust between individuals and societies.
  • A confession is the starting point of ‘let bygones be bygones’ as well as the process of forgiveness which is one of the important virtue which is need to heal and achieve internal peace as well as peace in our world.
  • Confession requires immense courage.
  • It can be done only the brave and those who to right the wrongs.
  • It is a virtue which cause temporary pain to the person who is wronged but in the long run, it acts as a bridge to improve relations.
  • A teenage Mohandas was stealing from home. He was overcome with guilt and he resolved never to steal again. But this was not sufficient. He made up his mind to confess his guilt to his father. But he did not dare to speak to him. Not that he was afraid of his father beating him. But he was afraid of the pain that he should cause him. But he felt that there could not be a cleansing without a clean confession.
  • He wrote a note in which, not only did he confess his guilt, but also asked for adequate punishment for it. He pleaded his father not to punish himself for his offence. In the same note Mohan also pledged never to steal in future. He was trembling as he handed over the note to his father. He read it through and the pearl-drops from his eyes trickled down his cheeks, wetting the paper. For a moment he closed his eyes and then he tore away the note. He forgave Mohan and he never stole again. This is the sort of virtue where to accept a mistake, confess, repent and to resolve not to commit the act again made him Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again. The resolution to avoid committing these sins in the future (amendment) is a sure sign that your sorrow is genuine and authentic. It all starts with confession.
  • I confessed to my mother when I had used the money given by her towards the wrong Things.

Commitment:

  • Commitment represents the motivation to stay in a relationship and to work at it.
  • “Whatever it takes.” Those are words of commitment.
  • Words said by a person with the drive to reach a goal by doing what needs to be done until it is achieved.
  • Commitment ethic is a deeply held belief that, once you have agreed to do something, you must do it until it is finished or completed.
  • A strong commitment ethic leads to success. Whether you are a student, an employee or a stay-at-home mom—you’ve probably set personal goals for yourself. These goals can be reached only when a high enough level of commitment has been made.
  • During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali. A chance sighting of a man entering the Chitradurga fort through a hole in the rocks led to a plan by Hyder Ali to send his soldiers through that hole. The Guard had gone home to have his lunch. During his meal he needed some water to drink, so his wife Obavva went to collect water in a pot from a pond which was near the hole in the rocks, halfway up the hill. She noticed the army trying to enter the fort through the hole. She used the Onake or pestle (a wooden long club meant for pounding paddy grains) to kill the soldiers one by one by hitting them on the head and then quietly moving the dead without raising the suspicions of the rest of the troops. Mudda Hanuma, Obavva’s husband, returned from lunch, was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and several of the enemies’ dead bodies around her. She was later killed in the ensuing battle.
  • Her commitment to her land and duty is unparalleled, which made her the epitome of courage, dedicate and commitment.
  • Without commitment ethic, what’s to keep us from giving up at the first sign of resistance? Commitment ethic gives us the push we need to power through when all hope seems lost.
  • It’s an inner drive to succeed, even when everything else is seeing to it that we fail.

Rationality:

  • Rationality the quality of being based on or in accordance with reason or logic.
  • Rationality is the habit of acting by reason, which means in accordance with the facts of reality.
  • The only alternative is acting by whim, which because reality is absolute, will result in undesired consequences.
  • This is because an action based on a belief in a particular cause-effect relationship will not occur if that relationship is invalid.
  • A second consequence to acting irrationally is that it undermines one’s ability to act rationally in the future.
  • By choosing to act irrationally, you are confessing your lack of trust in your own mind.
  • The more often you do this, the more you will believe what you are practicing.
  • You will accept that the mind is impotent, and that you cannot make the right decisions.
  • This undercuts your ability to live, since reason is man’s means of survival.
  • Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defense Forces who played a key role in the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident. On 26 September 1983, three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision to disobey orders, against Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in a large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned. Petrov’s rationality saves the world from a global catastrophe.
  • If we think rationally, we will never believe in gender bias traditions.

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